Washington, DC – As a result of an investigation requested by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report showing a troubling lack of oversight and accountability for U.S. funds to Pakistan that were meant to combat terrorism along its border with Afghanistan.
“I’m shocked at the lack of oversight of billions of dollars that have been doled out in Pakistan in an effort to fight terrorism,” said Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA).
The United States has provided Pakistan about $5.6 billion in payments, known as Coalition Support Funds, since the 9/11 attacks. In its investigation, the GAO found several cases where the Bush Administration could not explain or account for such payments, including millions of dollars for road construction with no evidence that any roads were built, and reimbursement costs to the Pakistan military that may be duplicative.
“The report documents how U.S. funds were used without any evidence that they supported counter-terrorism efforts,” Berman noted. “The U.S. government is being asked to reimburse Pakistan for non-incremental air defense radar maintenance when Al Qaeda is not even known to have an air force. The purpose of these funds is to support the fight against extremists, not to boost Pakistan’s conventional warfare capability.”
In early May, the Foreign Affairs Committee examined some of the conclusions of an earlier GAO report it had commissioned on U.S.-Pakistan policy. Berman today said the committee will continue to follow the matter closely to ensure that the Administration puts in place improved systems of accountability for funding to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts.